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Taylor Swift, Drake, Billie Eilish and other artists music are leaving TikTok

In a deal with the Universal Music Group and TikTok, music might be leaving the beloved social media app.
Lucy Prescott
Graphic created by Lucy Prescott. Elements were used from Kreafolk, Vulture, Business Insider, The New York Times and BBC.

Have you noticed your TikTok’s have been going silent, and music has been removed from posts you have made recently? The Universal Music Group, a giant music corporation home to big-name artists like Taylor Swift, Drake, Billie Eilish and others is threatening to withdraw their licenses on different social media platforms, like TikTok.

The giant corporation is multinational, contracting other artists like U2, Ariana Grande, Post Malone, Kendrick Lamar, and others. The companies had a contract that ended on Jan. 31. They have stated they will be retracting their music off the platform TikTok if the two companies do not reach an agreement for a new licensing deal. 

Videos have started going silent on the social media platform on Thursday after the companies went in depth about the licensing. To put it into perspective, Universal is the third-largest recording company in the music industry. They published a fierce letter to the public that accused TikTok of many issues that did not leave them satisfied on Jan. 30. A popular one that caught the eye of many was a Kylie Jenner TikTok and a Lana Del Ray song. Jenner posted herself showing off her outfit to a Lana Del Ray song, but the audio has since then been removed. The TikTok showed that anyone and everyone will be affected by this change, celebrities are not an exception. 

After a majority of the TikTok audios were removed, many artists took to the platform to share their thoughts on the whole situation. Noah Kahan, who was nominated at this year’s GRAMMYs for Best New Artist, found his growth from TikTok. He uploaded a clip of himself giving one last promotion, hoping that everything that comes in the future will be alright.

This is not the only issue Universal Music Group had with a social media platform. Previously, the record company had been very aggressive when defending their artists’ rights against the social media app, Triller. Triller is another short film music and video editor. Last year, the company sued Triller, saying they had not paid their licensing fees. To go along with the record company, TikTok has began pulling songs and different audios from their libraries. The full removal process of all the songs is set to span over multiple days.

In Universal Music Groups letter titled “An Open Letter to the Artist and Songwriter Community Why We Must Call Time Out on TikTok,” they stated, “as our negotiations continued, TikTok attempted to bully us into accepting a deal worth less than the previous deal, far less than fair market value and not reflective of their exponential growth.” The social media app, TikTok, countered with statements about the issue. The first opening line of their testimony states “it is sad and disappointing that Universal Music Group has put their own greed above the interests of their artists and songwriters.” TikTok did mention that they were able to work out an ‘artist-first’ rights with many other record labels.

In this long letter, they also accused TikTok of being a platform that is “flooded with A.I.- generated recordings.” The issue Universal had with AI music is that it drowned out the playing field for real-life human musicians. Towards the end of Universal’s long statement letter they shared, “we will always fight for our artists and songwriters and stand up for the creative and commercial value of music.” This leaves many wondering how this will be resolved and what will happen to the music offered on the beloved short video social media app, TikTok.

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About the Contributor
Lucy Prescott, Print Co-Editor-In-Chief; Yearbook Photography Editor
(she/her) Lucy Prescott is a senior at West High. This is her first year on the Wahawk Insider staff. This is her second year apart of the Wahawk yearbook, serving as  the  photography editor this year. Outside of involvement with West, you can find her looking up new concerts to attend, listening to Harry Styles, or taking pictures.
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    Mariah SlaterFeb 7, 2024 at 12:13 pm

    lucy is my savior